Northern Xinjiang: China’s Ode to Siberia

The region has a unique landscape which is called ‘three mountains surrounding two basins’. These features are, from north to south, Altai Mountains, Dzungarian Basin, Tianshan Mountains, Tarim Basin and Kunlun Mountains. The Tianshan Mountains, in the middle, divides this Autonomous Region into two totally different parts – the north part and the south part. If the north part means mountains and grasslands like the Kanas Nature Reserve and Narat Grassland, the south part means desert and Gobi such as the Takla Makan Desert; if north part means a pasture-based culture, the south part means an agricultural society; if north part means fine horses and the sounds of singing, the south part means dances such as Mukamu (the most popular local dance). The capital city, Urumqi, is located in the north part. The city has many gorgeous landscape features such as Red Hill and Southern Pasture, as well as featured cultural relics like Tartar Mosque and Qinghai Mosque. Urumqi is also an important city along the world-famous Silk Road, an historically important international trade route between China and the Mediterranean, which extended as far as present-day Rome. Some other important cities in the Autonomous Region along the Silk Road include Kashgar and Turpan, which boast places of interest like the Id Kah Mosque, Karakuri Lake and Karez System.

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